The right hires for social situations

If a hotel is able to routinely turn business toward local operations, they can become ambassadors for the local economy. Pictured: If a hotel is able to routinely turn business toward local operations, they can become ambassadors for the local economy. 

The best front-desk agents are able to connect with guests quickly and empathize with their needs, and while training can help teach employees what to say, it won’t always help teach them how to say it. Hiring employees with the right personality for the front desk will help put guests in contact with the kind of people that can and want to enhance their stay, but what should hotels look for in these agents?

“Front-desk staff should be curious by nature, have vibrant energy and show originality in solving problems,” said Barbara Kulwiec, GM of the Hotel Indigo Asheville, N.C. “These qualities can’t always be taught.”

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Zachary Lipton, assistant front-desk manager at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, Wash., said the best front-desk hires are people who have been residents of a location for some time, or who frequently go out and are knowledgeable of what a destination has to offer.

“There is not a formal moment in an interview where we try to figure this out, but as part of the conversation it will help give us information about what a potential hire already knows about the area, and what they appreciate about it,” Lipton said. “We don’t expect them to be masters, but we want them to be interested.”

To Lipton, the hiring process can help determine whether or not a front-desk agent will inject their own energy into a recommendation for a guest. “We want our front desk staff to share genuine opinions of what they love,” he said.

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